There is a notion that has crept into Christianity, in general, and the Church specifically, that prayer primarily is centered in contemplation. As one who has been positively impacted by the deep peace that comes from meditation and solitude, I see the value of such prayer. But as I’ve studied Scripture, especially the book of Acts, we observe a very different perspective to prayer.
Acts 4 gives us a glimpse into the intensity of prayer that is rarely taught. It is a prayer birthed in desperation. It is a kind of prayer in which one realizes there is no answer to one’s problems without God showing up. Maybe it’s our own lack of desperation that has created a kind of comfort that has led to compromise.
In Acts 4, we observe the early church under attack. The leadership has been imprisoned, released, and the edict from government officials is, “You better shut up or else.” It is a desperate time, and the Church has no support, no allies, and no clear direction for navigating this new territory.
But in Acts 4:23-31, we are invited into the great drama of the ages—bold prayer and bold action by a local church. The first Church of Jerusalem knows what to do. They have no doubt about the course of action. There is no indecision, frustration, or fear in the hearts of these men and women. They pray for boldness in proclaiming the Kingdom of God in their city!
They quote Psalm 2 as their theme: Why do the nations rage against God? Why do the people plan vain things? Why are the kings of the earth arrayed against God’s anointed? It sounds like our current situation in America.
The Church in America should take a page from the playbook of the Church in Jerusalem. Bold prayer that leads to bold action. This is not a time for sitting on the sidelines waiting for the Kingdom of God to come. No, this is a time for the Church to be activated in bold prayer that leads to bold action. This is the hour for all of us to believe God for a Kingdom of God Revolution in our marriages, singleness, families, schools, and communities. Be bold.
Praying and Acting,